Ortiz (10-4) reached 10 wins for the fifth consecutive season. The first four came with the
San Francisco Giants
as he averaged 16 wins during that span, with a high of 18 in 1999.
"In '99, I had it (double figures) right before the break," he said. "I got it one start earlier this year."
"He kept the pitches down today and got the low strike," Braves manager
said. "He's been good all year."
After going 14-10 last year for the National League champions, the righthander was acquired by the Braves during the offseason and is on pace for the best year of his career. He walked two and struck out four, outdueling
Ortiz credits his success top concentration and a quickly developed rapport with catcher
"From side sessions, from the first pitch to the last pitch - to keep that going, that's important to me," he said. "Javy is making it easier for me with the tempo."
"It's all about him getting comfortable with me and me getting to know him better," said Lopez, who made a big defensive play in the first inning.
"Who am I to argue when you have pretty much the best closer in the game coming in for you?" Ortiz said.
"When you've got Smoltz out there with a one-run lead, it's difficult not to use him," Cox said.
The Braves got an insurance run in the ninth, and Smoltz worked around a two-out walk in the bottom half, getting
- who sports a .447 career average against him - on a comebacker to seal his 29th save.
"I was disappointed in myself with two outs to walk a guy and create the tying run," said Smoltz, who was pitching for the first time in four days. "I've been in a lot of situations in the eighth inning where the game is on the line and then you have to go out in the ninth and do it again."
Atlanta rebounded from Saturday's 9-7 loss and denied Tampa Bay consecutive wins for the first time since May 15-16. The
were shut out for the seventh time this season.
"If we play like this the rest of the year, we are going to win some ballgames," said
, whose club set a franchise record for any month with its 21st loss in June. "I am pleased, I really am. We just didn't score any runs. What can you do? They ran some pretty good pitchers out there."
Sosa (1-6) gave up one run and five hits in six innings, walking two and striking out two. Making his first start since May 11, the righthander received congratulations afterward from Braves TV announcer
, a 300-game winner.
"I was so proud because one of the best pitchers ever came over and told me, 'Nice job,'" Sosa said. "I concentrated more. I tried to keep the pitches down."
Martin nearly gave Sosa a lead in the first. With two out and
on second, he singled to right field. But
gunned a strike to Lopez, who made a sweeping tag that got Huff on the shoulder.